The Cleveland Plan

While the Vikings haven't game-planned heavily for Cleveland, head coach Mike Tice has made decisions on which players will receive additional game time in the Vikings' first preseason matchup tomorrow.

Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice said Friday that all of the starters will play at least one quarter, and some will go the entire first half of Saturday's preseason opener against Cleveland at the Metrodome.

Tice said that quarterback Daunte Culpepper will play the first quarter, followed by Tod Bouman in the second. Rookie Shaun Hill will play the third quarter, with Spergon Wynn finishing the game.

He said that both the offensive and defensive lines will play the first half, although both units will have liberal substituting. Everett Lindsay and Lewis Kelly will split time at left tackle, while Corbin Lacina and Cory Withrow will alternate at left guard.

Tice said he hasn't done much work for a game plan. He's more interested in seeing how the team does fundamentally with blocking and tackling.

"You can't afford to spend three days preparing for a preseason game," Tice said. "You have to work on things that will carry you through the season."

* The Vikings held a 45-minute walk-through practice Friday, and will spend the rest of the day in meetings. The highlight of the practice came at the end, when guard Ed Ta'amu fell victim to a training-camp ritual of rookie hazing. Several teammates surrounded Ta‚amu and got him to the ground, wrapping him with athletic tape. It took six players to carry the 335-pound fourth-round draft choice from Utah to the goal post on one of the practice fields, where more players were waiting to tape him to the post.

"No more chicken wings and pizza for him," tight end Byron Chamberlain said as he joined in the Ta'amu convoy.

"That's a wrap," another player said before players with water bottles doused the helpless Ta‚amu, who was later cut away from the post by a trainer and fellow rookie Kelly Campbell.

* Receiver Randy Moss was one of the first players out for practice, joining a couple of kickers and punters on the field 15 minutes early. He played catch with one of the ball boys, perhaps another sign of an increased leadership role by Moss.

* Tight end O.J. Santiago has switched jersey numbers from 36 to 45.

* Tice said that receiver Derrick Alexander (quadriceps) will not play Saturday. He also ruled out cornerback Brian Williams (hamstring), linebacker Isaac Keys (ankle), linebacker Max Yates (shoulder), defensive lineman Willie Howard (knee) and defensive lineman Winfield Garnett, who is scheduled for surgery next week to repair a ruptured hamstring.

* Tice said that Thursday night he had decided not to play backup running back Doug Chapman, who is suffering from turf toe, but on Friday Chapman was back on the field for the light workout. "I guess he heard rumors that he was out, and he decided he wanted to be in," said Tice, who will decide Saturday whether or not to play Chapman.

Viking Update Top Stories